When you are attempting to lose fat and gain lean muscle, there is no magic bullet. The way to gain success is by dedicated yourself to proper diet, quality exercise, and perseverance. Nobody who knows how to achieve this goal would ever say that the task is simple. However, it also does not have to be an overwhelming burden. With proper planning and consistent effort, anyone can burn the fat they need without sacrificing muscle mass or tasty foods. By following some simple philosophies that lead to success, you can find your way to maximizing fat-burning foods and activities. All it takes is you making the decision to better yourself through quality decisions day in and day out.
Planning is the Key
The first step in any successful venture is having a well-thought plan. Vague or undecided ventures almost never work out the way that you need them to. The reason is that with a vague or unfinished plan, you allow yourself the room to fail consistently. Constant small failures lead to failure on a larger scale. Decide what your short-term and long-term plans are before taking action. Make your short-term plans easily achievable. When you make achievable short-term plans, you allow yourself the chance to build on success. Your goals that are farther down the road should be loftier in nature. That does not mean that you should make your goals unattainable. Instead, they should be difficult but reachable. It is important to make sure the goals you have in mind lead into one another. Say your goal is to lose 40 pounds of fat overall. Your short-term goals should then be “Lose a pound per week for three weeks.” Alternatively you could plan to, “eat two extra cups of leafy greens per day instead of bread.” When you are able to meet these goals on a regular basis, you will lead yourself toward your overall goal. Remember that missing a short-term goal or two is not the end of the world. It can help you recognize if a long-term goal is more or less possible to attain. As said before, the first step is a well-thought plan. And well-thought plans take some adjusting from sometimes. Once your plan is set, it is time to take action.
Each Item Adds or Subtracts From Your Goal
No matter what you eat, good or bad, it will add to your overall calorie count. Eating nothing but good food all day is fantastic for your body. Nevertheless, be aware that it still counts toward your overall caloric intake for the day. No one would scold you for eating 1,500 calories of great food. The bottom line that if you do not burn at least 1,500 calories, at least some will be added as fat. A lot of people fall into the trap of thinking one food item “cancels out” another. For instance, you will hear some say that they can eat a piece of cake or indulge in a soda because they ate well all day. Calories simply do not work that way. Your body does not allow certain calories to be flushed away because you have been good all day. It will simply treat the cake or soda like it would any other time. Avoid the idea that eating well 90% of the day means you can cheat 10% of the remaining day. All a bad decision does is take away from all the hard work you did beforehand.
How to Make Good Decisions
We all recognize good and bad decisions when we are dieting. This is especially true when we have a purpose like burning fat and building muscle for a particular event or competition. Even if we are dieting for general health, we can and must be honest with ourselves. It can be enticing and alluring to eat that oh-so-bad-for-us food. When we are burning fat through low-carb cycles or low-calorie cycles it can sometimes be almost maddening. Making a good decision comes from reminding ourselves of the plan we have laid out for ourselves. Erasing all that hard work in preparation does not make much sense. Find food items that can take the place of the weaknesses you know you have. Choose items that have something to offer you, like nutrients and vitamins your body can readily use. If you love ice cream, have low-fat yogurt with fruit and honey instead. If you desire a hunk of bread, be prepared with lean meat or eggs. These foods are not only better for you, but will also handle your urge. With any carbohydrate urge, water can sometimes quell any yearning. Often a hunger pang can be produced by dehydration, and water is an easy cure. No matter what the weakness, find ways to make good decisions with your proper planning.
One way to make the right decision often is to pick foods with a high thermic effect. Protein and complex carbohydrates will burn at higher rates than simple carbohydrates and fat. What this means is that your body will use up more energy processing the food through digestion. Your metabolism will be forced to remain at a higher rate and your body will burn more fat because of it. Avoiding “empty calories” like deserts and junk food will stop your body from converting a higher percentage of calories into fat.
When In Doubt, Go Natural
If you are looking to burn fat and avoid the foods that produce it, then always bet on natural. It is important that you do not confuse truly natural with items that claim “natural” on the box. By natural, we mean any food that can be found in the produce or meat section that is not in a box. Foods in these sections have little or no additives the majority of the time. The less processed a food is, the more nutrient rich it likely is. Vegetables, fruits, lean meats, legumes and nuts are all in this family of foods. What you receive from these foods is usually light-years beyond what you can get from supposed “natural” foods out of a box. The fats and carbohydrates you receive from natural foods is often complex as well. It is as simple as that. When in doubt, or when you have a craving, choose natural. Your body is much more likely to effectively burn fat that way.